A few days ago I attended the funeral of my beloved uncle. As I was recalling my favorite memories, one in particular stood out among the others.
I was a young wife and mother, juggling the responsibilities of working outside the home and running a household. Life seemed to be a never-ending series of tasks and things to do that had no end in sight.
One day my uncle came to visit, a treat that I had been eagerly anticipating. We loved to talk about everything and anything, our favorite topic including all things spiritual in nature. Out of the blue he turned to me and asked,
“Who IS Ann, What makes Ann happy?”
I was momentarily silenced, stunned by the simplicity of the question and the fact that I had no answer. I was so focused on the things around me, the chores that I hoped to tackle each day, that I had not given myself a second thought.
We went on from there with our conversation, but the seed had been planted. I began to contemplate who was I, what did make me happy? I became determined to find the answers.
I started to realize little things about myself, how I had denied myself, how I undervalued myself. The smallest of things made me happy, such as buying myself a new $3.00 toothbrush or a $10 CD of my favorite music. In the past, I would have denied myself those purchases, claiming I couldn’t afford them. I found myself being elated by the simplest of things—you would have thought someone handed me a million dollars!!
I had been given something more valuable than a million dollars: my own worth.
What that meant to me was that I was worth it, I mattered; I now valued me as much as I valued the others in my life.
What a feeling!! I started not only noticing and paying attention to the things around me that brought me joy; I gave myself permission to actually do them. I enjoyed listening to music, laughing with my best friend, spending time with my loved ones, reading a book, lighting candles, taking a bubble bath at the end of a day. I found that the more I gave joy to myself, the more I not only had to give to the others in my life, the more I wanted to give. Who’d have thought?
That conversation was 15 years ago and, in an irony that only life can deliver, I am now assisting others in answering this question for themselves. If you were to ask me now, my reply would be: “Do you want the long or the short answer!”
This new year I invite you to ask yourself:
“Who are YOU? What makes YOU happy? Are you ready to love and honor wonderful, amazing you this year?”
Ann Darwicki is a nurse turned professional life coach. She completed her training at the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching and is now the owner and founder of Whole Being Coaching, specializing in coaching caregivers and nurses to live the life of their dreams. Ann has 22 years of nursing experience caring for women and children, with a life-long affinity for holistic medicine. She is a Reiki Practitioner and an outspoken advocate for both people and the environment. She is a Nurse Luminary and a founding member and current chair of Delaware Nurses Association’s ad-hoc group Nurses Healing our Planet. Ann also has been a Delaware Clean Air Ambassador. She can be reached at 302-750-0574 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.